Ovary Removal Surgery (Oophorectomy)
Ovary removal surgery, also known as Oophorectomy, is a surgical procedure to remove the ovaries. It is known as a unilateral oophorectomy when one ovary is removed, and a bilateral oophorectomy when both are removed.
Why is Ovary Removal Surgery Performed?
Ovary removal surgery is used to treatment a number of conditions. These include:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Large ovarian cysts
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Benign tumours
For some patients, the ovaries must be removed for health reasons, particularly where ovarian cancer has been diagnosed. As most of the production of the female hormone oestrogen and progesterone takes place in the ovaries, removing both will result in menopause and permanent infertility.
Women with a strong family history of cancer, or who carry mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, can opt for a prophylactic oophorectomy. This is an elective surgery that will remove both ovaries and prevent ovarian cancer from developing.
Preparing for Ovary Removal Surgery
If you are opting for an elective oophorectomy, it is important to understand the risk and complications associated with the surgery. Your doctor will explain everything in full and discuss your medical history and wishes with your surgery, before you make a final decision.
It is important to bear in mind that you will not be able to have children once you have undergone surgery for a bilateral removal, and if you have only have one ovary removed, you will be less fertile and find it more difficult to conceive. If you do want to have children, speak to your doctor about referring you to a fertility specialist before undergoing surgery so you can consider your options.
You may also want to think about seeking help with a therapist as the procedure can evoke feelings of sadness and depression.
Once you have decided to go ahead with surgery, you will undergo a pre-assessment that will involve a number of tests. These include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- A physical examination
- Imaging tests such as an Ultrasound or CT scan
Ensure you tell your doctor if you are currently taking any medication, including over the counter, prescription and any supplements.
You will be required to fast before your surgery (no eating and drinking). Generally, you cannot eat anything after midnight, the night before your surgery. You can sip water up to 3 hours before, but you will be provided with full details at your pre-assessment. If you are given a solution to drink to clean out your intestines, ensure you follow the instructions carefully.
Ovary removal surgery can be performed either as open surgery or laparoscopically (keyhole surgery). If your surgeon is performing your procedure laparoscopically, you with either be given a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic, along with a sedative to help you relax. You will be asleep throughout a general anaesthetic, whereas you will be awake with a local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain with either method.
If your procedure is carried out laparoscopically, the surgeon will make small incisions near your belly button and insert the laparoscope. This is a thin instrument with a small camera and light at the end. The camera sends images that are projected onto a monitor in the operating theatre. Other tools are then inserted to tie off blood vessels, after which a small incision is made near the top of your vagina or abdominal wall for the ovaries to be removed. After the procedure is complete, the incisions are closed with stitches and you will be left with very small scars.
Open surgery is more invasive than laparoscopic surgery. Before your operation, you will be given a general anaesthetic, so you will be asleep throughout the whole procedure and will not feel any pain. The surgeon will make vertical or horizontal incision into the abdomen; vertical incisions give the surgeon at better view, but horizontal incisions leave a less noticeable scar.
The surgeon separates the abdominal muscles to reveal the ovaries, and ties the blood vessels to prevent bleeding. Once your ovaries have been removed, your incision will be stitched and dressings applied.
Ovary removal surgery is sometimes performed alongside a hysterectomy
Once your surgery is complete, you will spend 1-2 hours in the recovery room whilst your anaesthetic wears off. You will then be transferred to the inpatient ward where you are likely to spend between 1-3 nights, depending on the type of surgery performed. If your procedure was carried out laparoscopically, you will usually only need to stay overnight, whereas you are likely to need a minimum of 2 nights if you had open surgery.
You will be encouraged to sit up, stand or take a brief walk as soon as you feel able to do so. You might have a catheter fitted, but this will only be temporary and will likely be removed before you leave hospital.
Before leaving hospital, you will be given instructions on when you can return to your normal lifestyle. In general, this will depend on how quickly you recover from your surgery and your overall medical health before surgery. You can usually return to your normal lifestyle around 6 weeks’ post-surgery, although this can be as little as 2 weeks if you had laparoscopic surgery.
Ensure you eat well and get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Keeping active will help with speed up your recovery, but make sure you build up your activity levels slowly. Your doctor will advise when it is safe for you to resume sexual intercourse.
Risks and Complications
Ovary removal surgery is generally considered a safe procedure, but as with all surgery, there are risks involved. These include:
- Blood clots
- Allergic reaction to anaesthetic
- Damage to nearby organs
- Scar tissue
- Hernia due to weakened abdominal muscles
If you develop any of the below symptoms, you should inform your doctor immediately:
- Nausea and vomiting lasting more than a few days
- Redness and swelling around the incision site
- Trouble urinating
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Excessive vaginal discharge or bleeding
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
As your ovaries make oestrogen, you will go into early menopause and experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- No more periods
As you will not have gone through menopause naturally (it usually occurs around the age of 51), you will have what is known as a ‘surgical’ menopause. The menopause increases your risk of osteoporosis, so your doctor may recommend a low-dose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medication to help with your symptoms. Lifestyle plays are large role in your menopause symptoms, so it is important that you eat well, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
Early menopause may increase your risk of heart disease, dementia, vascular problems and neurological conditions. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Outlook after Ovary Removal Surgery
Women who keep their ovaries up to the age of 50 may have a longer life expectancy compared to those who have had a bilateral oophorectomy. Whilst oophorectomy does reduce the risk of death from ovarian cancer, and in some cases, breast cancer, it may increase the risk of death from other conditions. However, it is still considered the best option for women who are carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Gynaecology surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours. Oophorectomy (ovary removal surgery) is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Ovary Removal Surgery (Oophorectomy) treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Hatfield
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in December 2017
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
If you are based in and around Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, North London, Welwyn or Bedfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.
Gynaecology Pricing Guide at One Hatfield Hospital
This is a list of guide prices for some of common Gynaecology treatments and procedures.
|Treatment||Guide Price||Monthly from|
|Hysterectomy - abdominal||£7,250||£162|
|Repair of Prolapsed Vagina||£6,210||£138.77|